Amazon’s Amazing GPS-encoded Photo Database

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Every few months or so an announcement is made that I consider mind-blowing. You just smile and shake your head and think, “how awesome!” Actually, the pace of such announcements seems to be increasing.

Today it was Amazon’s revelation that in order to beef up their A9.com (which has under a million monthly visitors and is ranked #30 in search engine traffic according to ComScore) they have sent trucks around the country, equipped with digital cameras and GPS systems so that they could take more than 20 million pictures, mostly within 10 major cities, of all the popular store-front and business locations.

Now, their local “yellow pages” search engine will show you a picture of the store, restaurant, or business that you are going to be trying to find.

I predict their vision of how this will enrich their search engine and the investment they are making to go beyond 20 million photos will pay off in a big way for them. Watch A9.com’s web site traffic soar in the coming year. I’ll be surprised if they aren’t up to 5-10 million unique monthly visitors by the end of 2005.

After an almost silly start a few months ago, Amazon is now a very serious player in the search business. And I do mean player. They are playing a game kids call “leap frog.” Kudos to Amazon!

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